Knockout Content-Rich Article Techniques For Writing Must-Read Lead Paragraphs

Knockout Content-Rich Article Techniques For Writing Must-Read Lead Paragraphs
Knockout Content-Rich Article Techniques For Writing Must-Read Lead Paragraphs
In article anatomy I like to teach that there are several key components. Of course these can be stretched varied and thrown out altogether, but not until you’re an expert at writing content-rich articles. One key component of a clear article is, of course, the lead paragraph. Second in importance only to the headline itself, the lead graf (paragraph for short) has to be engaging, informative and lead the reader to believe you’re the one with all of the great advice they’ve been looking for.

Write a good lead-in and your readers will be anxious to act on whatever advice you share in the article itself and if they do find value in your advice in the article &ndash they’ll be very hungry for me of your expertise. Hence, more sign-ups to your e-mail newsletter &ndash or better yet, more sales of your products and services.

So here are a few ideas for writing engaging lead paragraphs for your target audience:

A problem: Try to identify with a huge challenge or issue your audience is facing. Most likely you’re facing it too. So expose your experiences with this problem. You’ll endear yourself to your audience, cementing your status as the authority in your industry. Here’s an example of a problem lead:

Mistakes. We all make them and no one wants to admit to them. We’re all faced with the question, how do we recover after we make the occasional slip-up? When it comes to e-mail marketing there’s a huge debate over whether to ‘fess up or to make like an ostrich and stick our heads in the sand. I’ll offer my solution in four words: Own up to it.

A statistic: You’ll have to check your specific industry publications for these stats. Even if you see something in the mainstream news, you can always put a twist on it that relates specifically to your industry. Here’s an example of this kind of lead/identifier paragraph:

What’s that sound? You know - that slipping sound you keep hearing. If you’re still writing your marketing pieces in-house, you’re hearing the sound of market share slowly slipping away from your business. Here’s why: A recent survey shows 72% of your col leagues outsource so that they can focus on serving their customers and reducing costs.

The news: You can tailor national and even international news to meet your needs with your identifier paragraph. For instance, I just used the SARS epidemic to display the benefits of teleseminars. Too much of a stretch? You be the judge:

Picture this: The task of setting up a conference has fallen to two marketing managers in Beijing. One tests the market and discovers his company’s client base is ready for teleseminars. Our other marketing manager decides to follow the same road as the many managers before her and sets up a live conference at a hotel in downtown Beijing. The story of the SARS epidemic breaks just days before their events. Which manager gets to keep his or her job?

Note: In the example above I also used another extremely effective writing technique called “painting the picture.” This is used throughout writing whether it’s commercial or creative. Setting a scene for your readers is a wonderful tool for persuasion. You’re in control, you can paint the option most beneficial to you as the best option and the one that isn’t so beneficial as the worst option.

Your readers will think you’re great because you’re not telling them what to do, you’re just presenting them with information they can use. But in the end you’ve persuaded them to use your products or services - if you paint the picture correctly.

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